Eric Bell

Staff Writer

The Poets kicked off regular season play on the first of September. The Men’s Soccer Team traveled to Santa Clarita to play Masters University. It appeared to be a little warm out; the temperature at kickoff was 106 degrees. Although the game ended in a tie, it was a good way to kick off the season.

This year’s team is very new. To start with, it has fifteen freshmen this year. For a college program, that is a lot. To add onto this extraordinary number of first-years, the team has four transfer students. These new faces have further added to the transition of the program. 

Many people are excited about this team. Many new guys are coming in from good backgrounds, and in some cases, carry valuable experience with them. To go along with these newcomers, the team has some exceptional returners who will need to step into big leadership roles this year. All together, the men have a very solid squad that expects to make a deep run in the tournament this season. 

To begin this season, the Poets stand at 2-6-2. Despite the slow start, there are still five games of competition left to be played. The Poets have scored seven goals in their ten games. Senior Nainoa Loschky and freshman Charlie Bentley both lead the team with two goals in the 2022 season, along with many more to come. Of Bentley’s two goals, one was a game-winning goal against Redlands. Teammate Zach Guarino also scored a game-winning goal this season when the Poets faced UC Santa Cruz. 

The team is also trying out a new formation, or way of lining up on the field this year. This change could better fit our team and help them play more fluidly together. This formation takes out a defender from the backline and adds an extra midfielder into the mix. This could help the Poets a lot as they are a team that likes to keep the ball as opposed to kicking it as far as they can forward every time. With more midfielders on the pitch, they should be able to retain possession of the ball more often and more effectively, which is one of the team’s goals. By keeping the ball more, they have more opportunities to exploit the holes and weaknesses in the other team’s defense. 

This new formation is different from formations that most of their opponents use. Usually, teams will play with four defenders in the back, putting less players in the midfield area. In this situation, Whittier should have the numerical advantage in the midfield, allowing them to control the speed and possession in the match. This is what they want as a team. Another reason why this formation has been implemented is that many teams in the conference play in this sort of traditional formation, so they believe that they can take advantage of these tactical changes during the season. Also, if needed, the extra midfielder can come back and help out in defense, which can be crucial against teams that have many players pushed higher up the pitch. In this way, the Poets are able to adapt to different situations that their opponents try to put them in.

With so many new faces in the squad, it seemed fitting to catch up with a first year player. Jens Hoffman, one of the staggering fifteen freshmen, shared his views on the start of the season. Hoffman touches on new beginnings; “There has definitely been some adjustment time. It has taken some time to adjust to different players and different kinds of playing.” He added something very important near the end of…; “I feel like I have been welcomed in.” That feeling is crucial as the team tries to build a culture that everyone wants to be a part of.

“I’m excited for the season, I want to see this team get better,” Hoffman said. No wonder the Poets struggled to find their footing last season going 6-9 overall and 4-8 in the conference, per wcpoets. They also missed the conference tournament. “Definitely really excited to win some games,” said Hoffman. That has been the mindset around the squad this season, as everyone is ready to put last season behind them.

To advance to the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) playoffs, the Poets must finish in one of the top four positions in the league. The men are confident that this is the year it all comes together. With two remaining regular season home games nearing the end of October, be sure to come out and support! It would be great to see you all there. Go Poets!

Photo Courtesy of wcpoets.com

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In collaboration by Quaker Campus staff members.
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